Parents wait in line to pick up their students at Eastview Christian Church Friday. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
NORMAL – The Unit 5 Board of Education opened Wednesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting by addressing Friday’s shooting at Normal Community High School.
“I think the Normal Community principal said it best,” board president John Puzauskas said. ” ‘One incident, involving one student, does not define Unit 5. We are defined by the excellent work done by our students and staff every day.’”
The regular agenda did not include anything related to the shooting, but Superintendent Gary Niehaus told board members the district continues to debrief staff and examine policies.
He said NCHS administration met Friday, Monday and Tuesday to discuss the shooting.
“We’re debriefing on what we know, what worked well, what we need to improve upon and what are the things we’d like to see done differently,” he said.
Niehaus said officials will meet with the Normal Police Department Thursday, and staff will also start to meet with the rest of the district’s principals.
“99 percent of what we hear is that (Unit 5′s response to the shooting) went well,” Niehaus said.
One of the major factors the district is looking at in the wake of the shooting, according to Niehaus, is finding appropriately sized venues students would go to in an evacuation.
“Because, Eastview Christian Church and Normal Community sit side by side, with the ability to consume them,” he said. “So that’s one of the big things we’re going to look at. Should we do (evacuations) through one, two or maybe three venues?”
“For example, at George Evans Junior High, we transported all those kids up to the Doubletree for their evacuation drill. On the south part of town, you don’t have an Eastview Church. You don’t have a facility that can handle 2,000 kids.”
Niehaus did not have a specific timeline on when a report on the shooting would be presented to the board.
“Every day counts, right? We learned that last Friday. So, as soon as we can,” he said.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.